HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Mountain West Conference announced late Thursday the approval of an abbreviated eight-game football season, with all 12 Mountain West teams expected to participate — including the Rainbow Warriors.
But Thursday’s decision was just the first step on the road back to the football field, and University of Hawaii athletics director David Matlin says that he and school President David Lassner have been in communication with state officials about creating a plan that will let the team play while also abiding by health and safety guidelines.
“The next step is we get our schedule, we look at what that is, and then we’ll give (the state) that data too,” Matlin said in a conference call with reporters on Friday. “I can’t give you a time table (on when a plan might be finalized), but those conversations are ongoing and started before this decision was made.”
With Gov. David Ige’s long-awaited plan to allow travelers to avoid a 14-day quarantine by testing negative for COVID-19 set to go into effect next month, Matlin hopes that the newly-announced rapid testing program from the Mountain West will be satisfactory.
“Making sure that the protocols and tests we have will meet the state’s guidelines,” Matlin said. “Which we believe they will, and see where we’re at on any other issues or concerns they might have.”
If given permission to proceed with the season, the next question is whether or not there will be fans in the stands of Aloha Stadium this season ― but Matlin wants to make sure that UH is playing football first before worrying about fan attendance.
“We have our first step now with the Mountain West, our second step is working with the travel, for people going in and out (of state), and the next step after that would be looking at fans in attendance," Matlin said. “If they can be, obviously I don’t think that we will be at full capacity, so we just have to do it one step at a time and that’s really step three to me.”
“Obviously, it would be great if we could have fans in a socially-distanced and safe manner.” Matlin added.
The Rainbow Warriors began training camp on Friday despite not having the official stamp of approval from Gov. Ige, with plans to ramp up to full pads by next Wednesday.
The Mountain West has not yet released the team’s schedule, which is expected to provide more clarity on whether or not they’ll take the field this season.